Cleveland City Board Of Education Approves 10 Percent Budget Cut; 2% Raises Eliminated

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - by Tony Eubank
Pictured from left to right are Dr. Martin Ringstaff, Board Chairman Tom Cloud and Peggy Pesterfield
Pictured from left to right are Dr. Martin Ringstaff, Board Chairman Tom Cloud and Peggy Pesterfield

The Cleveland City School Board on Monday, faced with lower revenues, approved a 10 percent cut in the upcoming 2014-2015 general fund budget.

Business Manager Brenda Carson said the adjustments are necessary because the incoming tax revenue is under what was projected, as the amount of sales and property tax collected is down this year. Director of Cleveland City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said, “Budgets are in trouble across the state.”

Dr. Ringstaff also said that, while cutting personnel is a last resort, he did inform system principals that if there is another bad year, that personnel reductions may have to come into play. The cuts to the budget also mean that the planned two percent across the board raise for the entire staff of Cleveland City Schools will be eliminated. Business Manager Carson said that these cuts are a must because if the budget is not balanced this year it will “create a snowball effect” and eventually spiral out of control.

Cleveland City Schools Technology Supervisor Andrew Phillips presented to the board a plan for a digital conversion pilot program. The program includes updating the existing technology infrastructure and the use of more digital content by having students and teachers make more use of laptops, tablets, and other devices.

Other aspects of the program include the purchase of digital textbooks and more professional development for the teachers involved.  Mr. Phillips stated that the digital content will still be backed up by books. Dr. Ringstaff added that textbooks are no longer the main teaching resource - that they are just one of many tools at a teacher's disposal, “Textbooks are no longer the driving force in the classroom,” said Dr, Ringstaff.

The program is being implemented in Cleveland Middle school’s social studies classes, as  next year is the year for new books in social studies and the classes under the social studies umbrella include a relatively small amount of classes when compared to math and language arts courses.

Several board members had questions about student access to the technology needed for the classes. Mr.  Phillips said the school has already purchased two computer carts with funds provided by a Race to the Top grant, and officials intend to purchase new computers every year in order to prepare for future needs. Dr. Ringstaff said, “I’m fully behind this, I think it’s time to jump off the diving board into the future.”

The Board approved the pilot program, along with a proposal to build some additional security fencing around Cleveland Middle school.

The board also received an update from Brian Templeton of the Upland Design Group, on the new gym project. Mr. Templeton announced that phase one is right on track and that the second phase should begin on schedule. Mr. Templeton said that he has completed the design and it has been approved by the fire marshal. There will also be a mandatory meeting held on Thursday for interested contractors to take a look at the site and ask questions about the project. This will be followed by open bidding on May 1. The board also approved paying $36,607.90 to Upland Design Group for its work on the new elementary school project. 

16,858 Cast Ballots In First 3 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first three days of early voting in Hamilton County, 16,858 have already cast ballots. That includes 1,607 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011. Sites: Brainerd 1,084, 1080, 1,030 Election Office 1,848, 1,731, 1,698 Collegedale 956, 954, ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13; Mocs Seniors Gain 34th Career Win

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley Stadium before 10, 505 fans. Mocs quarterback Alejandro Bennifield threw one touchdown pass and ran for another and Henrique Ribeiro kicked a 30 yard field goal to complete the scoring for the victors. ... (click for more)